This was a great experience for the whole family! My youngest and husband had never rode before and we booked the 1 1/2 hour trip - hindsight being 20/20 - I'd probably go back and just do an hour. It was a long time to be on a horse at a slower pace, but we still enjoyed the trip. We left for our trip at about 11am, but I would have preferred to go earlier in the morning - my husband was worried about it being to cool, but its a much more pleasant ride in the earlier morning or the last ride of the day at 5pm - at least until you get further into summer. The foliage was just barely peeking through - so not really lush, but when you got to the top of the mountain you had a nice view of Gatlinburg because the trees were bare. The ride is fairly steep in some places going up and down.
They took pictures of us before we left and when we got back and then sold us a CD for $25 with all the photos on it - about 12. I thought this was a great perk and very nice! About half of my photos during the ride were blurry, just from the movement of riding, but not much you can do - so it was nice to have those photos.
Guides didn't do a whole lot - just led the way and made sure we stayed on the path. A fairly quiet ride.
The one downfall I would have to say - is no reservations are accepted. My husband brought up a good point that - they could offer reservations either with a deposit or full payment within a certain time frame of the ride - that way you could ride when you want and not have a come in, pay, leave and then comeback to ride. They said 45 minutes and we still waited another 45 minutes upon our return. Would be nice if they found a way to amend this policy - even slightly.
And just for reference... I have also gone on the rides out at Cades Cove Stables - and this was a better ride by far!!!!